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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crocuses in Maytown

"There Are Many Deceivers"

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"Watch out that you are not deceived" (Luke 21:8). "Let no one deceive you with empty words" (Ephesians 5:6). "For many deceivers have gone out into the world" (2 John 1:7).

Adam JackAdam Jack grew up in the church we served over 20 years ago in northern Pennsylvania. We continue to stay connected with Adam through Daily Encouragement as well as his parents, Bruce and Cindy, who are longtime friends. Adam graduated from Grove City College and is a financial advisor who has had a very successful career assisting others in managing their finances. I recall speaking to him about seven years ago during the financial crisis and his earnest concern for his clients. We are so pleased that he is a devoted family man and continues to faithfully serve the Lord and remains active in his church.

We appreciate all the people who have a role in assisting us through the particulars of life such as our doctor, dentist, mechanic and many other professionals and non-professionals. We seek out those who are competent and trustworthy and find blessing in their services or counsel when they are helpful and prove to be trustworthy. We've also had some headaches and heartaches when that wasn't the case! Our pastors have such a vital role in this regard as those who "watch over our souls", an interesting description for ministry used in Hebrews 13:17

I think of this when I watch a TV commercial that's been running lately. Surely some of you have seen it and we place a video link below if you would like to watch it.

Deception illustrationA businessman is seated at the head of a big conference table in a spiffy office. He is offering people financial advice on their retirement. He is well-dressed and presents himself as a professional, appearing very knowledgeable, using big words like "asset allocation" that impresses his clients. After his presentation the people are asked if they would trust him and they wholeheartedly give their approval. By all appearances he is a competent financial planner.

However it turns out he is actually a DJ and has no financial training whatsoever! His polished appearance was deceptive.

DeceptionI see the ad as a good illustration on deception. We've all heard the quote "looks can be deceiving". There are deceptions in many realms. There are financial deceivers. An early proverb (although not a Bible proverb) states, "A fool and his money are soon parted." There are deceivers in medicine, jewelry, politics, carpentry and a host of other areas. Certainly there is a lot of deception in all forms on the internet.

But our greatest concern is that of spiritual deception since the consequences have eternal impact
. After all Jesus said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36).

In one of our Lord's final teachings he warned, "Watch out that you are not deceived" (Luke 21:8). The apostle Paul likewise wrote, "Let no one deceive you with empty words" (Ephesians 5:6). There are many deceivers and deceptions out there and we are all prone to being deceived. We must always be on our guard. Satan is the master deceiver and he has many minions.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived."

There are many ways the deceiver is active and, as God's people, we need to constantly be on our guard and practice discernment. A mark of the end times is that, "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 John 1:7). This so true in our own age!

We need to be discerning and vigilant!

Some steps to take to guard against being deceived:

    1)  Growing knowledge of the Word
    2)  Stability in a Bible faithful local church
    3)  Prayerful growth
    4)  Being in service for the Master
    5)  Recognition of God’s design and order
    6)  Steadfast dependence upon the Holy Spirit
    7)  Avoiding mob mentality (the mob is often wrong)
    8)  Wariness of "new" teachings
    9)  Observe and learn from those who are gifted with discernment to spot deception

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, we pray for discernment, so that we make wise decisions since You warn us that deceivers have gone out into the world, and if we're not on our guard, we will be taken in by their deceptive ways. As we read Your Word we learn of those things that are true, honest, good, just and virtuous and we also learn of that which is false, destructive, and misleading. We learn how to detect the enemy though he or she may be dressed in sheep's clothing and even masquerade as a Christian. But in time their words and their works will reveal who they really are. Keep us on our guard so that we are not taken in by those who prey on undiscerning believers. Instead we want to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and build up the Kingdom of God. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray for discernment. Amen.

Two more deception thoughts to consider:

"If the whole church goes off into deception, that will in no way excuse us for not following Christ." Leonard Ravenhill

"Intellectual deception always follows moral rejection."  Winkie Pratney

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

The DJ - Certified Financial Planner Board TV Commercial Ad  Video  This is the ad referred to in our message today.

"Keep Me True"  Video  Jabu Hlongwane

"Finish Well"  Video  Karen Peck & New River

"If There Ever Was A Time"  Video The Crabb Family

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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